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On the Surface
By Amy Jo
The drive to my place was pretty silent, the only conversation being the necessary directions. Which I think is a good thing. I've about had it with the sentimental and more than emotional talks I've had in the past few days. A person can only take so much, and I've put more of my heart out there in the past two days than I have in more than three years.
I'm a little wary of what to do once we get to my place. I'm actually a little nervous about whether or not to invite him up. To see my place that is. I've never had anyone from work come to my place before. Not even Grissom. But Warrick has been incredibly nice to me today, and maybe it is time I opened up a little to my coworkers.
"You want some coffee or something?" Okay, so it sounds stupid, but it's the best I can do.
Warrick watches me stumble my way through figuring out what to say and smiles at me. Who knew Warrick smiled so damn much? I don't think I've looked at him once since shift started last night and he wasn't smiling. Hmmm. Interesting.
"Oh hey, not only do I get to find out where you live, but I get to actually go inside too? Allright!" Warrick chuckles at his little joke but then looks at me seriously. "Coffee would be great. Somehow I think it's going to be a long day."
"You mean it hasn't been a long day already?" I kid with him as I lead him upstairs. Once inside, I head straight for the kitchen to start the coffee and to satisfy my growing hunger. That long forgotten salad was just not enough. Especially not after the amount of Jack I drank.
Warrick is wandering around the living room looking at the pictures on the wall and the books in the bookcases. Probably trying to figure out as much as possible without asking any questions. He turns to see me watching him and he looks completely confused. Well, at least he's not smiling.
"Find anything interesting?" I give him a small smile to let him know that I don't mind his curiosity. Honest, I expected nothing less. You can't put an investigator in the middle of a puzzle and not expect them to try to solve it. This time the puzzle is me.
"Few things. Pictures of places, not people. The only books you seem to read are non-fiction. The DVD's you watch are all documentaries. Someone has bought you movies; comedies and dramas and such, but you haven't even bothered to take off the shrink wrap. Your CD's though, you spend a lot of time listening to music."
"How do you figure that?" His insight has me intrigued. I'm also a little surprised at how much he has learned in the few minutes it took me to get the coffee going and to start something for me to eat.
Warrick only laughs. I'm not sure why, but this irritates me. "C'mon Warrick, share." I'm not necessarily begging him, but my tone is a little more pleading than I like.
"Sara, you've got a 100 disc CD stereo system with at least six speakers. I'm fairly certain that there are probably a few subwoofers that I can't see, but I'm sure that they are here. Not only does your stereo hold 100 discs at a time, but you've got two spare cartridges that are already full of discs and ready to be played. Doesn't really take a genius to figure out that you've got a jones for music." Warrick looks smug and satisfied with his answer.
"Okay, okay. So you're right. The stereo is on more than the TV." I admit it. Music is a weakness. I'll listen to almost anything. Well, at least anything that actually sounds like music. Some of the stuff that passes for rock music these days is just shit. "Coffee's done. Want anything else? I've got pasta going 'cause that salad just wasn't enough; especially if I'm going to try to not have a hangover for my next shift."
"Nah, coffee's good. Sorry. I kind of forgot about the vegetarian thing. The burgers at Patricks are the best. But I suppose the salads probably aren't, huh?" Warrick hangs his head a little, and I can tell that he's actually kind of ashamed of himself for forgetting that I don't eat meat.
"Hey, not a problem. The salad might have sucked, but the Jack tasted good and the conversation was enlightening. So all in all, I have to say it pretty much balances out." Warrick follows me into the kitchen and watches as I finish a light garlic sauce to go with the pasta. I point him toward the coffee mugs and explain where he can find the cream and sweetener.
I never have much company, so my dining table is rather small. Basically there's just barely room for him and I sit comfortably. I find the silence oddly comfortable considering the situation. When I've finished eating, I grab myself a cup of coffee and motion for Warrick to follow me to the living room. By now, I'm completely sober and positive that the hangover I had feared earlier will not make an appearance. Thank god.
"So now that you know all of my innermost secrets, tell me something about you." I'm not certain, but I'm pretty sure that Warrick blushed. I wonder if it's my secret or his that makes him turn red. I can't resist the urge to tease him a little. "Aww, Warrick, you're blushing."
He turns even redder. Well, this is definitely more fun than being at the bar. While we kind of bonded at the bar over stories of my life, I hope to learn more about him. There's so little that I know. He was a big time gambler, almost making as much money gambling as he did as a CSI. When he nearly lost his job three years ago over the Holly Gribbs thing, he quit gambling. I know he has a soft spot for his old neighborhood and that there is definitely tension between him and Brass. Other than that, I'm pretty sure I don't know a single thing about him.
"Um. Every Sunday I go to church with my grandma. Well, actually I guess you could say I take her to church. She's about 90 and she broke her hip last year. She doesn't move very well and it makes her happy to see me." He smiles and his eyes brighten up with memories.
"See, that wasn't so bad. And you didn't even need liquid courage. What about the rest of your family?" I can tell right away that I've said something wrong. The brightness in his eyes dims and then it's gone, replaced with sadness.
"There is no one else. Just me and my grandmother." In all the years I've known Warrick, and all the things we've seen together on the job, I've never seen him look so sad.
'Jesus Warrick, I'm sorry. I didn't mean."
Warrick cuts me off before I can begin to properly apologize for being such an ass and knowing such a basic part of his life. "It's okay. It's been a long time now that it's just been me and grandma. Honest, I'm surprised you didn't know. I think everyone else on the team does."
I try to lighten the mood a little, "C'mon Warrick, this is me we're talking about here. You know, antisocial Sara? The girl who spends all her time in the lab and has no life. Remember?"
Warrick just shakes his head and smiles. "Yeah, you're right. Listen, I know this cuts into 'get to know Warrick' time, but I've got to run. Things to do and all." Warrick gets up from the couch and leans over to give me a short hug. "Don't forget to call Rayn. She cares an awful lot for you. See you at work."
And before I know it, he's gone. I grab another cup of coffee from the kitchen and hunt around the house for my phone. Rayn left a note with her number on it next to the charger for the cordless phone, but I can't seem to find the phone itself. Oh yeah. I walk into the bathroom, and there it is. Smashed into about ten pieces. I'll have to remember to go pick up another one before work.
Having successfully avoided another talk with Rayn, I decide it is high time that I catch up on some sleep. The cup of coffee I was going to drink instead gets emptied into the kitchen sink. Thankful that my phone won't be ringing and waking me out of my slumber, I head to bed.
I wake up deliriously happy. I would even go so far as to describe my mood as fantastic. My dreams were filled with various images of a certain coworker. And I've got to say they were nice images. Not to say I haven't had these dreams before, but knowing that Catherine might just feel same way adds a whole new dimension to things. A wonderful, vivid, nearly visceral dimension.
The shower I take is quite cold and necessary due to my body temperature and the lingering images of Catherine. I put an extra effort into getting ready for work tonight. All I can do is hope that Catherine hasn't called off again. I have determined that tonight I will talk to her. Or, more accurately, get her to talk to me.
I put the now busted phone on the table next to the door, hoping that I will take one last look at it before leaving the apartment and remember to pick up a new one. Feeling good, I turn on the stereo and give the apartment a good once through making sure everything is picked up and clean. I don't make much of a mess living here by myself, but I still like to make sure everything is organized and clean.
In my life, I don't think I ever put this much thought into what to wear to work. When I can get away with it, I usually just wear jeans and a tank top. There's really no point in wearing anything much fancier than that, because I'm just clumsy enough to ruin anything else. In the end, I settle for jeans and a my favorite blouse. Simple, black, but most importantly soft and silky. It's also pretty form fitting. Not very original, but then again I'm trying to pull this off like it's just another day. And it so isn't.
The jeans are just a little tight, but in a good way, and there are just enough buttons undone on my blouse to show a little skin and hints of what is underneath the fabric. I know that while I am thinking that this is my subtle way of teasing Catherine there will be a few others around the office who will notice. I only hope that I don't get too embarrassed.
I use my cell to call a cab. I need to get back to Patricks to get my car. A trip to the electronics store to pick up a new phone and then I'm at work. I'm way too nervous about running into Catherine, or even Warrick, so I head straight to the A/V lab to check in with Archie on the surveillance for the 406 in the jewelry store.
"Archie! Tell me you got the goods on my breaking and entering." I can't stop the incredibly good mood I'm in. I hope Archie tells me something good.
"Sara, I knew you'd be in early. Fortunately for you I stayed extra late and got almost all of it done last night. Come back in an hour and I'll have a full report ready for you."
Archie moves from his equipment and finally turns to face me and if I weren't in such a good mood, I'd be supremely pissed at the way his jaw almost drops to the floor. Guess that means the outfit looks good.
"Thanks Archie, see you in an hour," I flash him a small smile and head to my office. I want to know if Archie has prelim photos for me so that I can get some work done. On the other hand, I'm a little embarrassed by the way Archie just looked at me. I'm kind of flaunting it today, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm comfortable with it. I've never been comfortable with it. Besides, there's only one person around whose reaction I actually care about.
I am early for shift, only by about an hour; usually since I don't socialize much I come in about two hours early. It gives me some quiet time in my office to finish up paperwork, or extra time in one of the lab rooms to run evidence. Without Grissom to phone me in early, I use the time to fret about what I should say to Catherine. I still haven't figured it out. I'm not even sure I'm going to be able to hide the good mood I'm in from her. Normally I'm not this happy, or smiling this much, I'm certain she'll know right away that something is up.
If someone were to walk by my office, it would look like I'm being very productive and getting a lot of paperwork finished. In reality, I'm just shuffling paper. I'm pretty nervous about what's going to happen when I see her and talk to her. She might still be pissed about what she saw the other morning. She might have decided she never wants to speak to me again. Which, now that I think about isn't really all that different than before.
Only now it'll hurt even more.
An hour has passed and it's now time to face the music. Not only do I have to go back and see Archie, but assignments will be up soon and I'm fairly certain I'm going to run into Catherine. Taking the easy way out, I head to the A/V lab to talk with Archie.
"Archie, got a report for me?" Archie turns to face me at the sound of my voice, and I swear I think he's blushing.
"Oh. Um. Yeah." For as excited as Archie was earlier about these discs, his minimal response has me concerned. He hands me the report, not meeting my eyes.
"Archie?" I want him to know that he has nothing to embarrassed about. If that's what this is anyway.
"Yeah?" He looks up at me from his chair and I see the confused look in his eyes. He was probably hoping that I would just walk away after I got the report in my hands. It's something I tend to do; if I need a report bad enough I will go right to lab and get it myself, but I never stick around to discuss the contents, or anything else for that matter.
"Thanks." I tell him with a big smile.
"No problem. I said I'd have it done in an hour, and it's been an hour." He thinks I meant to thank him for the report. As much as I appreciate his having put in the extra work on this to get it done fast, that wasn't exactly what I meant.
I'm not sure why I feel the need to thank him for his appreciation of my choice of clothes today, but I do. I think it might have something to do with the super-fantastic good mood I'm in. Normally I'd be pissed if someone around the lab looked at me the way he did. But not today. Because today is the day I want them to look. Okay, maybe not all of them. Well, actually just one of them. But if I turn a few other heads in the room, then that just might be the ego boost I need to approach Catherine.
I lean down close to his ear, and whisper as seductively as I can muster, "That's not what I meant." I give him a big smile and head out of the room before I become too embarrassed to ever look at him again.
On my way to the break room I read the report Archie gave me. Actually I didn't so much read the report as take a look at the pictures he got for me off the discs. Three suspects, one female. Interesting. I've got my nose stuck so far into the report in front of me that I barely notice the walk through the labs and into the break room. I spend so much time here I really think that I have the floor plan memorized. Scary.
With the exception of Grissom, the whole crew is in the break room when I get there. I tuck the report under my arm and head straight for the coffee maker. Warrick and Nick seem to be arguing about how far the UNLV Rebels will get in the NCAA tournament and Catherine is quietly staring at the table in front of her.
I take one look at Catherine and instantly my heart is pounding and I feel the heat of a full body blush. I open my mouth to say hi and nothing comes out. Great. I'm so damn nervous I can't even say hi. I'm spared a second attempt when Grissom walks in with assignments.
"Nick, Warrick you get two db's on Highway 95. Sara you feeling better?"
"Hmm? Oh, um yeah." I wasn't expecting him to ask me anything, just to hand me a slip and let me be on my way.
Grissom nods his head, "Good. You and Catherine get a db on Freemont. I've got a home invasion. Let's get to work folks."
Everyone heads out the room to get to their scenes. I'm not even at the door yet when Grissom calls me over to him.
"Yeah boss?" I'm anxious to get out of here. I'm not entirely thrilled at the prospect of processing Freemont, not to mention the nervousness I feel at working with Catherine. On the other hand, I am also incredibly excited that I get to work with her. I was feeling okay, but now my stomach is all in knots and I'm having a slight difficulty breathing.
"You sure everything is okay? I know you said you were sick yesterday and I haven't seen you since then. I left a few messages on your phone, but you didn't call back."
Oops. I completely forgot to check the machine. "Yeah. Everything's great. Griss, it was just a hangover. I wasn't expecting to come in yesterday and then after you called I seem to have broken my phone. Not to worry, everything is okay now."
I walk out of the room before he gets a chance to say anything more. I'm almost convinced that he cares, but then again he could have reached me on my cell, or even by pager if he was that concerned. I try not to think about it too much and head outside where Catherine is waiting by a Tahoe.
Catherine watches me without saying a word as I put my gear in the trunk and slip on a bulky LVPD vest. She doesn't say anything at all as we drive toward tonight's crime scene. Uneasy with the silence I finally get the courage to say something to her. "Cat?" The nickname I have for her just slips out. "You mad at me or something?"
"Huh?" She looks over at me confused. Her brain catches up with my question before I repeat myself. "Oh, um no."
"You're awfully quiet." I try to needle information out of her. She doesn't take the bait.
"Just thinking." I'm so not convinced. "What did Gil want?" I absently note that she is the only person who ever calls Grissom by his first name.
"Oh, nothing really. Just checking on my state of health." I've decided to try something new. Complete honesty. I'm not sure how much to reveal but if she's asks, then I'll tell her.
"Are you okay? I'm not sure I want to be out in field with someone who's sick." Ouch. The tone in her voice could probably be best described as cold and icy. If I didn't know before, I know now that she's still pissed at me. I have got to figure out a way to fix things between us.
"Catherine, I'm fine. Really. Grissom called me in last night and I was sick then. But everything is fine now." Okay, well not everything is fine, but I still need time to think about how to fix things between us. I can't believe Catherine's pissed about that one kiss. For god's sake it's not like I even knew she was interested. And it's not like Rayn and I are going to get back together or anything. That part of my life is over.
For years it has been Catherine that I wanted. Even when I tried to see where things would go with Grissom, he took a second seat to her. If she had shown any interest, things would have been so different. No time like today to change the rest of my life, right?
We pull up to the scene only to find nearly a block of Freemont Street taped off and barricaded. Foot traffic is so high on this street that getting anything decent is going to be difficult. The amount of police officers and gawkers is beginning to make me wonder if this isn't going to be high profile.
Detective O'Riley is patiently waiting for Catherine and I to grab our kits and cross the police tape. He looks disappointed at the amount of people hanging around.
Catherine is all business when she talks with him. "What have we got?"
"GSW. Bad one too." O'Riley leads us to the body, and I instantly see what he means. This poor girl was shot in neck. The entry wound is small, but the exit wound is horrendous. Most of her neck is now splattered on the sidewalk. To be honest, it's disgusting.
"Anybody see anything?" From her tone I can tell that I'm not the only one thinking the sight before us is awful.
"Oh, yeah. There's probably about a hundred people saying they saw the guy. I've got rookies doing the FI's. you guys are pretty much clean-up. We've already got the guy." O'Riley points to a squad car. Inside sits a kid who can't be much more than 20. And he's strung out on something. My best guess is crank.
"What's with all the people?" I ask O'Riley. Even when we catch the cases where the death occurred in public, there's not usually this many people standing around.
"Oh, that's just the tourists trying to catch a glimpse. Maybe they think they call all back home and tell their families how they had such a great time in Vegas and how they even saw a dead body. Tourists are stupid like that." Well, I guess we can definitely say that O'Riley doesn't like people. Or tourists anyway.
"Allright. Let's get to work then."
And these are the last words Catherine says to me for the next two hours. I start off by taking the pictures of the scene while Catherine collects blood samples. We work quietly together and I catch her looking my way few times. Unfortunately it's not the look I was hoping for.
We finish with the scene and I decide that now is as good a time as any to talk with her. When I thought she hated me, working together with her silently was easy to handle. But if Warrick was even telling the smallest sliver of truth, her silence now is unbearably painful. Knowing that she's upset with me is painful. Knowing that she won't talk to me about it hurts even more.
"Catherine? Can we talk for a minute?" I'm nervous and fidgety now, playing the pockets on my vest. We're standing at the back of the Tahoe, the doors are open and we're putting the kits in the back. Since I don't really like to wear the vests for any amount of time longer than necessary, I put my vest in the back with the kits. Catherine doesn't think I notice, but her eyes widened just the smallest bit when I pulled the vest off. Hmm.
Her eyes immediately narrow when I look at her. "Can we talk on the way back to the lab? I'd like to make sure I don't pull any overtime today."
I really, really don't want to have this talk with so many eyes and ears around. Glancing around Freemont Street, I notice that there are probably more people her than I've ever seen at the lab. But I don't know any of these people and that should make this a little easier.
She looks at me stunned. "What do you mean no?" I think she expected me to just go along with whatever she said. But not today.
"I mean I want to talk here. And now. You're obviously mad at me Cat and I want to know why. And that doesn't seem like a safe conversation to have while driving, or even at the lab. So no." I realize that I've once again called her Cat. Something I rarely do, well except maybe in my dreams.
She doesn't say anything, but she doesn't move either. I take that as a sign to go ahead. "What did I do Cat? Why are you mad at me?" I know damn well what I did, but for the life of me I can't figure out why she's still pissed. There's no logical reason for her anger.
"Sara can we please not do this here?" She is pleading with me but I'm not giving up. There's just the smallest hint that she's willing to talk, and I plan on taking full advantage of that.
"No. I can't take this anymore. You haven't talked to me in weeks, but today you're downright pissed at me. What the hell happened?" It's completely irrational of me to think that I can somehow make her tell me something that she doesn't want to. But I keep pressing because I want, I need, her to tell me. To tell me Warrick was telling the truth, she likes me. To tell me that seeing me kiss Rayn made her jealous. To tell me anything.
"Nothing." Icy, bitter and final.
I watch as she starts to move. Damn it, she is not walking away from this. From me. My motives are purely selfish and I'm not too pleased with this side of my personality. But I want this, and I think she does too. We're both just too damn stubborn to make it happen. Not anymore. Something beyond my own mind and body moves me closer to her and I forcefully grab her arm. Not hard enough to hurt, but with just enough force to make it clear that she's not moving.
She looks at me, startled at my display of force and control. "Stop lying to me." I lose my controlled appearance and I know very well that the amount of hurt I feel is displayed openly on my face. The shocked expression on her face melts into one of concern.
"Sara, please. It was nothing. Not important. Let's just get some work done." I can see that she's not backing down either. I make a sudden decision and hope that it doesn't backfire on me.
Her lips are soft and tastes of chapstick. Her face is hot under my palm. She doesn't pull away immediately and with courage I didn't know I had my kiss becomes more urgent and demanding. I nearly want to scream in delight when I feel her arms wrap around me. Her hands are hot on my back as they press against the soft material pulling me closer.
I am beyond thrilled at the experience of her lips on mine. Just from the feel of her lips and her hands rubbing up and down my back I feel the long forgotten ache of desire coursing through my veins and settling in a burn between my legs. I could never have dreamed it would feel this good.
We break apart at the sound of my cell phone. Someone has incredibly bad timing. Though my lips are no longer on hers, I leave one f my hands where it has settled on her hip, letting her know that I'm not letting her walk away.
"Sidle," I breathe into the phone. Determined not to be distracted from my original plan, I turn my head to her neck and place small kisses just above the collar of her blouse. The work under hot lights of Freemont Street has made her slightly sweaty. Personally, I love it. From my position I can feel her heart rate and hear her struggling to breathe.
"Sara?" I can't believe it. Warrick is on the other end. I'll have to remember to tell him sometime just how bad his timing really is. I think he'd be happy for me.
"Yeah." A few more kisses. "You called me remember? What's up?" My kisses move up her neck until my lips wrap around her earlobe, gently sucking while my tongue plays with the gold hoop trying to get it out of the way so I can taste her.
"Just wondering if you have had that talk yet." He's sounds almost as nervous as I was earlier.
"Mm-hmm." I mumble into the phone.
"How did things go?" I can tell he's smiling on the other end of the phone, his excitement is barely contained.
"Not sure yet," I say, though I happen to think things are going very well. "I'll talk to you about it later." And I snap the phone closed and put it back in the belt clip. My lips still on her ear, I whisper to her, "Can I kiss you again?"
And I am excited beyond belief when she replies, "I think you'd better."
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